Housing becomes a key battleground in the election campaign

Michael Gove

Those of you who tuned in to Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday morning would have heard housing Secretary Michael Gove, who is not standing for re-election, kick-off the day by explaining that the Conservatives have a “clear plan” to help people get on to the housing ladder, and accuse Labour of “hammering hundreds of thousands of first-time buyers with a massive stamp duty increase from next April”.

The Tories decided to focus on housing throughout the day after Labour released a press release on Wednesday night vowing to improve conditions for renters. That prompted the Conservatives to accuse the opposition party of failing to deliver a clear plan to help address the current housing crisis in this country – Labour did the same.

Housing has become a key battleground in the election campaign.

The Conservatives said they were offering a better deal on stamp duty, by pledging to permanently abolishing the levy for first-time buyers buying properties up to £425,000.

Meanwhile, Labour said its more ambitious plans for energy efficiency in rental homes would protect tenants from higher energy bills.

Labour have said they would keep the current stamp duty exemption for first-time buyers, but speaking on Thursday leader Sir Keir Starmer would not commit to extending beyond April next year as proposed by the Conservative manifesto.

“In the Budget the government set out clearly its plan, that was costed, in relation to stamp duty and we will hold to that because it’s fully costed,” Sir Keir said.

Ed Miliband

He said the Conservatives’ proposal on stamp duty was “another example” of an unfunded commitment, which he would not follow.

Meanwhile, Labour has vowed to take action to protect renters, and claimed that tenants would be “better off” under them than under the Conservatives.

It said it would – much like almost al the other major parties – abolish Section 21 and require all all landlords to bring rental homes up to Energy Performance Certificate rating C by 2030,

“This is a policy that the current government was committed to and then abandoned,” said Ed Miliband, shadow secretary for climate change and net zero.

“They abandoned a million renters and sold them down the river. These are people living in homes that are cold and damp. Labour is on their side and we will work with landlords to make sure this happens in a way that is good for renters.”

Asked about the costs to landlords of making properties more energy efficient, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “I don’t think this will be too significant for them.”

“What we can’t have is a situation where people are in homes that are damp, that are hazardous to health,” she added. “A lot of landlords recognise that safe, warm homes are what we should be providing.”


Labour vows to improve conditions for renters – but campaigners demand more detail



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  1. mattfaizey

    Where the housing market is concerned Politicians really do have the intellect and common sense of a walnut don’t they?

    They love making it easier to buy.

    Buy what?

    Again, you’re finding methods to stimulate demand for a product that is being produced in numbers way below demand even without that demand being stimulated.

    All the talk once again around making it easier for people to buy.

    Yet we are failing not just miserably but in catastrophic fashion to build enough homes.

    Can you not see the stupidity in ‘homes are expensive, affordability is tight so we’ll make it easier to borrow’

    I mean FFS, it’s an equation that wouldn’t make it to an eleven-plus paper on the grounds it’s too easy.

  2. MrManyUnits

    Marching powder Gove reminds me of Father Jack sitting there with his spelling blocks, maybe replace fek with clueless.

  3. Robert_May

    The fundamental issue at the heart of the housing crisis is the lack of a stable, apolitical approach to housing policy. Recent events underscore this instability. For example, Mr. Gove was making strides in improving the house buying and selling process, supported by a £3 million allocation from the last budget to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DHLUC). This funding was intended to drive critical projects forward, projects that now face uncertainty and the likely evaporation of funds due to potential changes in direction.

    Consistency and determination are crucial for meaningful progress. When it comes to implementing best practices, such as client cash accounting, success was achieved not by RICS, ARLA, NAEA, or the Law Society, but by the initiative of one individual in a single company. This person identified the necessary changes, convinced a colleague, and together they drove industry-wide improvements that neither government nor regulators could achieve. Competitors had to adapt and benchmark against these advancements.

    In contrast, the current system allows for the appointment of housing ministers who may lack the necessary skills and domain knowledge. Without adequate training and continuity, each new appointment risks starting from scratch, nullifying previous progress. This cycle of inconsistency and lack of expertise hampers the ability to address the housing crisis effectively.

    To solve the housing crisis, housing policy must become an apolitical department within the government. This department should remain consistent regardless of political changes, ensuring that long-term projects and improvements are seen through to completion. Only then can we expect to see sustainable solutions to the housing challenges we face.


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